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Chicago Photography Center to Move to New Location

By Serena Dai | November 27, 2013 8:06am
 Chicago Photo Center, 3301 N. Lincoln Ave., will be leaving Lakeview at the end of 2013.
Chicago Photo Center, 3301 N. Lincoln Ave., will be leaving Lakeview at the end of 2013.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

LAKEVIEW — The decade-old Chicago Photography Center is leaving its historic corner building on Lincoln Avenue by the end of the year.

Staying in the community center and gallery's landmark flatiron building at 3301 N. Lincoln Ave. was expensive for the financially struggling non-profit, said Karen Egerer, the president of the center's board.

The lease is not yet up, but building's owner asked that the center leave before 2014, Egerer said.

The center does not yet have a new home and is currently looking for a new one in Portage Park and Uptown, she said. Lakeview rents are too high, she said. 

Until the center finds a permanent building, it will hold classes in temporary locations, which will be determined later, she said.

"It happened so quickly that we didn't have a plan to move to 'x' location," Egerer said.

Volunteers built out the space at the corner of Lincoln and Marshfield Avenues 10 years ago, taking a raw canvas and turning it into a center with classrooms, a darkroom and a gallery. 

Chicago Photography Center hosts monthly photo feedback sessions, photography workshops, studio space, a public dark room and a gallery space. 

Earlier this year, executive director Heidi Kohz said the center's main source of income, photography class enrollments, was in decline, possibly because the rise of smartphone cameras has led to people thinking less before they shoot. 

Center officials sought donations to make up for lost income, but Kohz's position was recently cut to save costs, Egerer said.

Now the center is selling off all the inventory it doesn't need before the move, from thousands of prints to antique photography technology that is no longer necessary. 

Wire reels, "handyman"-type materials such as screws and tubing, antique enlargers and other small darkroom equipment is currently on sale. 

Prices range from 25 cents for old reels to more than $100 for some framed prints. 

It will also host its last photography discussion — on the future of photography — from 7-9 p.m. Dec. 13.

"The stuff we're keeping, we're keeping in storage," Egerer said, "unless an angel comes along and says 'You can move in here now.'"